Read anything good lately?

Lists of great summer reads are popping up everywhere, but of course I forget to write down where they were and what was on them. So tell me, what’s on your summer reading list? What have you read recently that you couldn’t put down? As my friend Melissa said this weekend, if it doesn’t grab her from the start, she’s not going to read it.

I just finished Jennifer Weiner‘s new novel, Certain Girls, and loved it. The boring, ambiguous title doesn’t do it justice, this was a fabulous, funny, heartbreaking, joyous story. Earlier this spring I read the very real narrative of four dramatically different new mothers, Little Earthquakes, and I’m hard pressed to say which one I liked best.

I read, with a heavy heart, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Powerful, sad and ultimately triumphant. Just read it.

I took a long break from Jodi Picoult this year (all that emotion! those ethical decisions! courtroom cliffhangers! personal angst!) but happily came back because her books are just SO good.

I just finished Keeping Faith, and recently read Second Glance, both among her best, I would say.

And in the less highbrow arena, I read Michael Palmer’s The First Patient, which I loved because I am a sucker for presidential fiction and medical fiction, so the two together worked perfectly for me. I end up reading every Stuart Woods pot-boiler that comes along, because they take about one late night (mostly because I can’t put them down) and are always a great read. This spring I read Shoot Him If He Runs.

Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer was another fast-paced clever read. Like I said, it’s in the less highbrow arena, but it keeps me off the streets.

And since it is garden season, I have to recommend The $64 Tomato by William Alexander or, How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden.

And finally,  I just picked up my husband’s copy of Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce and Culture by Taylor Clark. So far, pretty interesting, and best enjoyed with a cup of coffee, of course.

What have you got for me? Tell what you’re reading right now!

P.S. Thanks for all the calls and emails and Twitters about the Real Simple sighting, I finally got to see it last night, pretty fun. Can’t you just see me in those white jeans at the playground? I’ll post a scan of the page when I get a second, because I think it isn’t on news stands for another week or so.

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Anna Sawin

Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.


  1. applecyder on June 17, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Have you read anything my Murakami? Kafka on the Shore is my favorite.

  2. Molly on June 17, 2008 at 11:40 am

    I read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen this winter and it was amazing. You should definitely read it!

  3. amy Flood on June 17, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I just finished “The Lottery” which was a nice light read, “Mr. Darcy’s Diary” which i loved and another light read was Janet Evanovich, “Plum Lovin'” which took about 6 hours to read! short and light-great for a mom with active kids. my hubby is currently reading “The Soprano State” which is a non-fiction account of all the corruption in the state of new jersey which i plan to read as soon as he is done. it can make your head spin!

  4. JenBun on June 17, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I REALLY loved A Thousand Splendid Suns– Hosseini is an amazing writer!

    I am re-reading some old favorites these days, trying to find inspiration for my writing and remembering the messages that made them my favorites in the first place…

  5. laura on June 17, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for the summer reading recs. I’m reading Innocent Traitor by Allison Weir right now–good for people who liked The Other Boelyn Girl or are into Tudor history. Last month I read Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. It was a total beach read–pretty predictable, but fun nonetheless.

    I’m a Jodi Picoult fan too–haven’t read those 2 you mentioned in this post. I have a meeting at the library tonight and will check out what they have in paperbacks–and I’ll see if they have your Real Simple yet!

  6. Maya on June 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I just added a bunch of these to my Amazon wish list! Thanks for sharing! I need to start reading less photography/business stuff and more pleasure!

  7. ktzap on June 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    All the Jen Lancaster books ( Bitter is the New Black, Bright Lights Big Ass and Such Pretty Fat) make for TERRIFIC summer reading…They are quick and funny and she says everything you don’t dare to say out loud (but are secretly thinking)

    Summer at Tiffany about the 1st female employees at Tiffany is fun too

    More on the sadder side of reading is Love is a Mix Tape (true, heartbreaking, but oh the music!)

    I can’t wait to read I Was Told There’d be Cake and The Time of My Life: Writers on the Heartbreak, Hormones, and Debauchery of The Prom

  8. phyllis on June 17, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    i liked jennifer weiner’s new book too, but it took me quite a while to get into it, for some reason i was annoyed with the characters. i’ve started keeping track of every book i’ve read this year and it’s posted on the sidebar of my blog. i really enjoyed stephanie meyer’s new book “the host” – riveting. i also highly recommend “anytime playdate” which was about preschool television. so interesting.

  9. Sarah on June 17, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    really liked “McCarthy’s Bar”, a sort of travelogue where the author — named McCarthy — goes to every pub/establishment with the name McCarthy. Hope I didn’t spoil anything there. 😉

    1K Splendid Suns made me SOB for hours.

    Also very good is Mary by Janis Newman Cooke. Historical fiction, but it’s told from the POV of Mary Todd Lincoln, so you know it’s gonna be interesting at least.

    Also also very good is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfeld.

    I am kind of on a Jodi Picoult hiatus. I do enjoy her books but there’s something very YA Lit about them and then there’s always the Last! Minute! Twist! that doesn’t much surprise me anymore.

  10. Christina on June 18, 2008 at 8:04 am

    I think I’m just going to bring this with me to the library next time. I’m convinced we have exactly the same taste in book. Love Weiner – tho I haven’t yet read her newest one. LOVE Picoult, but talk about heavy. Tenth Circle is the only one by her I didn’t like, and My Sister’s Keeper is my favorite (so far!). Loved Splendid Suns, too. The rest – on my “to read” list as of now!

  11. elizabethews on June 18, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Jodi Picoult rules. I just read Nineteen Minutes and Change of Heart. Up until Change of Hear, My Sister’s Keeper was my favorite. I’m currently reading Loose Girl by Kerry Cohen – it’s an advanced reader’s copy, so I don’t think it’s officially out yet. It’s good though. For a heavy read, I highly recommend The Historian by Elizabeth Kostovo (sp.) – it’s about Dracula, but not Bram Stoker-ish. It’s VERY good.

    I may be stealing your post idea for mine today…. just sayin’….

  12. Mike on June 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    If there are any of you out there who share my nerdy childhood infatuation with fantasy series targeted for the YA market and you haven’t read Philip Pullman’s trilogy The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, you’re missing out. In fact, if this comment had strikethrough text, I’d use it on my opening caveat. This is great literature–an incredibly inventive retelling of Paradise Lost. They make Harry Potter seem like a set of trite, derivative, “I Can Read” books. Which, (let’s be honest) is pretty much what they became once JK Rowling stopped listening to her editor sometime after about book 3…

  13. Mike on June 19, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Um, sadly, the books I’ve read lately? All kids books. But, I read them nearly every night!

  14. libound on June 21, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Like Mike, kids books. Chapter books, as they like to call them. I liked Al Capone Does My Shirts, Pictures Of Hollis Woods, and did not like Stargirl (although I usually LOVE all of Jerry Spinelli’s books). I listened to Snow, all of it, and it was too long a journey, I want that time back. I’m now listening to Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth, and it is very very long, except I am fast forwarding through all of the building details. Same reader as Snow, so I’m struggling again. Which is why I permitted myself to buy the first book in the Gossip Girl series last night. Thank Goodness.

  15. arizaphale on June 22, 2008 at 2:58 am

    I am so jealous of all you people who have time to read. I have several books going on my night stand, none of which I have finished as I have been so busy trying to come up with sure fire maths lessons that I don’t get to bed til 2am. 🙁 This weekend however I did manage to finish Bryce Courtenay’s devastating story of his hemophiliac son in ‘April Fool’s Day’, made all the more poignant because I actually lived downstairs from Damon and his girlfriend Celeste in 1988. But the holidays are coming and in between marking exams perhaps I will find some time to peruse some of the suggestions on this post!

  16. Carrie on June 23, 2008 at 3:52 pm


    For all of you Jodi Picoult fans, her popular book “The Tenth Circle” has been made into a movie!!!!! Check this out.

    Following the successful movie adaptation of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Lifetime now brings you a new based-on-novel film, written by New York Times bestselling author, Jodi Picoult: Published in 2006, The Tenth Circle has won rave reviews across the country, and is now a movie starring Kelly Preston (Jerry Maguire, What A Girl Wants), Ron Eldard (House of Sand and Fog) and Brittany Robertson (Dan In Real Life). See it on Saturday, June 28th at 9PM ET/PT:

    The Stone family’s seemingly idyllic lives are shattered when their daughter, Trixie, is the victim of a date rape. But there are holes in Trixie’s story, and when another violent crime occurs that may be linked to the rapist, the entire Stone family finds themselves under suspicion. Can they all survive the truth and make it out of their personal circle of hell?

    For more information about the movie (cast, photos, movie trailers, etc.), please click the link below:

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Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.